Cleaning Furniture Stains And Spots

Learn how to keep your furniture looking and performing well by treating spots and stains early and completely to prevent permanent damage.

Everyone gets occasional spots and spills on their furniture. The trick is to prevent what you can and clean what you must. Here are a few tips that can help. Always consult an expert for serious or unknown stains, however.

1. Scotch-gard your furniture fabric. Many shoppers request this special coating at the time of purchasing a new sofa or stuffed armchair. But even if you did not, you can still buy an over-the-counter fabric coating that will help to deflect foreign substances from becoming ingrained into the furniture's fabric. Check your supermarket or department store's household products section for the best product that will suit your furniture. If you are not sure, ask a sales assistant for help.

2. For prevention, don't let anyone eat in the better rooms, and keep the pets out, too. While it is best to keep food and beverages in the kitchen and dining room, there may be times when someone will wander through the house munching on chocolate or sipping a soda. Set limits about where people can go to keep them from damaging key fabrics. Put your best furniture in one or two rooms, and save those areas for special occasions when possible.

3. When a spill occurs, blot the stain immediately. Use a clean paper towel or cloth to gently pat the substance to keep it from dissolving into the furniture fabric. Avoid wiping or pressing hard on the area. A dry cloth or towel can take up quite a bit of the unwanted moisture and prevent the stain from spreading. Do not rub it, however.

4. Use the recommended cleaner. There are several on the market today, so be sure that you get one that will not harm your furniture. Check the directions for proper use, and look for warnings about your particular type of fabric covering. If you are not sure, call or email the manufacturer with your questions. Try a drop or two on the underside of the furniture fabric first to see how it affects your fabric.

5. The stain may need more than one cleaning. Even after daubing the area and applying commercial-grade cleaning product, a stubborn stain may not come up easily. Following the cleaning directions, try it again. If you still have problems getting out the dirt or color, you may have to contact a professional furniture cleaning company to have them come out for a home visit.

If all else fails, cover the permanent stain with a matching piece of fabric or a decorative accent arm piece or chair back runner. Chances are few people, if any, will notice the stain is there. Large and obvious spots may signal the opportunity of moving this furniture piece to a low-traffic area in your home, or possibly replacing it with a new or second-hand item.

Buy a furniture cleaning kit to keep on hand for emergencies. That way, you will be prepared when a spill occurs unexpectedly. Store supplies in a clean, accessible area so you can find them when needed.

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